LA HABRA — High school coaches often tout the balance of their league, in part to raise their league’s profile.
When the Freeway League boys’ basketball coaches talk like that, they’re telling the truth.
Friday provided an example when La Habra defeated Sunny Hills 64-49 in a league game at La Habra High.
La Habra lost to Troy in Wednesday’s league opener, while Sunny Hills defeated Fullerton that same night.
After the first week of league play, Sonora and Troy are in first place with 2-0 league records. La Habra and Sunny Hills are 1-1, Buena Park and Fullerton 0-2.
Every league team except Buena Park is .500 or better overall this season.
Three league teams — La Habra, Sonora, and Sunny Hills — are in Orange County’s top 25. Troy was in the top 25 earlier in the season and could return after wins at Sunny Hills and Buena Park this week.
“Every year is tough,” said La Habra coach Aaron Riekenberg. “But this year is particularly tough. Troy has 14 wins, Sonora has 16 wins, Sunny Hills has 14 wins, and Buena Park and Fullerton are both very good.”
La Habra’s non-seniors shone on Friday.
Sophomore guard Grayson Sinek posted a game-high 21 points, including 10 points in the fourth quarter. Freshman guard Acen Jimenez scored 18 points and made three 3-pointers. Sophomore guard Sebastian Esparza scored eight points and had two 3s in the second quarter, and junior center Joseph Cruz had seven rebounds.
La Habra newcomer Acen Jimenez had 18 points, including three 3-pointers in the Highlanders’ 64-49 win over Sunny Hills… pic.twitter.com/kg6xPa0BLP
— Steve Fryer (@SteveFryer) January 7, 2023
Sunny Hill’s junior guard Justin Shin hit a team-high 15 with four 3-pointers. Junior forward Kingsley Ashley had 12 points with eight rebounds. Lancer’s senior guard Johann Kwon made three 3s to end with 10 points.
La Habra (14-5 overall), the No. 15 in Orange County’s top 25, took the lead early in the first quarter and didn’t give it up. The Highlanders went into the third quarter with a 37-19 lead.
Sunny Hills made a move in the third quarter, putting together a 15-2 run that included a 3-point run from Kwon that cut La Habra’s lead to 40-37.
The Highlanders scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter to regain control.
Sunny Hills (14-6 overall), ranked No. 20 in the county’s top 25, shot 17 for 43 from the floor (40 percent) and was 8-of-19 on 3-point shots. La Habra was 24 of 51 on all shots (47 percent) and was 6 of 19 on 3-point attempts.
Next week, La Habra has two league games at home – against Fullerton (Tuesday, January 10) and Sonora (Friday, January 13). Sunny Hills has two league games on the road – Tuesday at Buena Park and Friday at Troy.
Also on Tuesday’s league schedule is Sonora in Troy.
Riekenberg anticipates another competitive week of Freeway League basketball.
“There are no nights off in the Freeway League this year,” he said.
https://www.ocregister.com/2023/01/06/la-habra-wins-battle-with-sunny-hills-in-freeway-league/ La Habra Boys Basketball Leads Sunny Hills in Freeway League – Orange County Register